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Walk Off the Weight in 12 Weeks

It's time to start on your weight-loss journey. "You don't need to use any fancy equipment or learn any complicated steps," says Leslie Sansone, group exercise leader, Walk at Home fitness trainer, and designer of this year's Family Circle/AHA Start! Walking Challenge program. "You just have to get pumped up about burning fat, toning your muscles, building bone strength, reducing stress, and dramatically reducing your risk for heart disease." Following this plan will literally take you on a walk in the right direction.

Week 1

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From your front door, walk for 7-8 minutes and then return home the same route—don't worry about your pace. Walk for 10 minutes, then walk back. Walk for a total of 15 minutes. 20 minutes 15 minutes Mix it up. Look for opportunities to walk whenever you can. Take the family for a long walk to a park. Get to a mall early and window-shop as you briskly move through the long corridors. Head to a beach or lake and walk along the shore. A brisk 20-minute walk can calm you as much as taking a mild tranquilizer. Exercise triggers the release of endorphins, brain chemicals that relieve pain and stimulate relaxation.

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